So, you brought in KM consultants to help you to implement “KM” in your organization. They have made the case, with your sponsorship, and presented their recommendations for your KM strategy and implementation framework. But leadership just can’t or won’t implement. What? Really?
Here are some things to consider to better understand why the obvious may not be so obvious or the value of KM that is clear to you, may not be clear to others.
Is the KM Strategy proposed tied or grounded in the organization strategic plan or strategy?
Importance: The strategic plan or strategy sets the direction and relative value of all initiatives and organization direction. When used effectively, it is used to make decisions about investment and execution. Organizations serious about leveraging knowledge to create value will ensure that KM in some form or characterization is clear and unambiguous, communicating how leadership views the value of KM. Most importantly, if it’s not in the organization strategic plan or strategy, it likely won’t be a priority and likely won’t be seriously resourced.
Is the organization ready to move forward with a real and realistic focus on KM?
Importance: The KM strategy must recognize the realities of your organization’s business and operational environment (BOE) and knowledge management environment (KME) otherwise there is an immediate disconnect between goals and outcomes. “Meet the client/organization where they are, not where you want them to be.”
How is the value of KM being messaged?
Importance: The value proposition or business case for KM must be simple and clear in the context and “speak” of your organization. Theory is nice, but WIIFM is what drives acceptance of a KM initiative. KM value messages must be (1) tied to the culture and operational tempo of your organization and (2) be easily understood across the verticals and horizontals of the organization.
Is the demonstrated experience and expertise available to deliver a 360-degree KM solution?
Importance: This is about investment risk, performance, and results. While the KM business case may be clear, your organization (leadership) may not have the confidence that that those accountable for KM implementation have the experience and expertise to deliver the KM solution. There is always a clear difference between an academic solution and practical application. The truth is that not everyone who creates a KM Strategy can plan, implement, and most importantly, implement to sustain the KM effort.
Does the KM effort appear to be a stand-alone effort, or is it addressing real, “in the workflow” business or operational knowledge challenges?
Importance: The workforce, both management and technical, is very astute at recognizing the difference between “making their job harder” or “making their job easier.” They are always wary of “another management initiative.” KM pilot projects, built into the everyday workflow of the organization, are the single most effective way to demonstrate the value of implementing KM concepts, strategies, and practices in an organization. Most importantly, pilot results must be tied to simple and unambiguous measures of success where the ability to effectively capture and reuse knowledge can make a measurable difference in the outcome. KM must be recognized as part of the way work gets done, not extra work.